Revenue Cycle

ED wait times drop slightly; patient satisfaction rises

Patient Access Weekly Advisor, June 24, 2009

Despite a recession and continued crowding, a new study shows that the average wait time in the nation's emergency departments fell by two minutes in 2008 to 4:03. Even with the long waits, Press Ganey's Emergency Department Pulse Report 2009 finds that patient satisfaction rose in 2008, continuing a five-year improvement trend.

Leigh Vinocur, MD, on the emergency physician faculty at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, says she's not surprised that patients leave the ED satisfied.

"First of all, they probably can't get in to see a primary care doctor," says Vinocur, who is also a national spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians. "And when you go to a doctor's office, he decides you could need a CT scan or a neurologist and you're waiting another few weeks for a referral.

"So, even though people are waiting four and five hours in the ER, they have an idea they are going to have a diagnosis when they leave. That doesn't always happen. But we can do a lot of procedures and things while you are there to get closer to the diagnosis," she says.

Read the full story by HealthLeaders Media’s John Commins.

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